ANTIOCH, Tenn. – Details of the nation’s latest theater shooting continue to unfold, and the debate about gun violence continues.
On Wednesday a man armed with a gun and hatchet was killed after witnesses say he exchanged fire with law enforcement and sprayed three people with a chemical irritant. Kat Chandler Wright with Moms Demand Action says this latest development is another call for change.
“It’s sickening and it is just so disturbing that it has become so commonplace,” she says. “This is happening again and again. You’re terrified. You’re thinking, ‘I don’t want to go to a movie theater, you know. I’m scared to send my kids to school, I’m scared to go to church.”
According to the Center for American Progress, Tennessee had the most aggravated assaults with firearms per capita of all 50 states in 2011, and a gun murder rate 30% higher than the national average, based on 2010 statistics.
Gov. Bill Haslam recently signed a bill into law that would allow people with a concealed-carry permit to carry a gun in public parks, regardless of local law or the policies of event organizers.
Wright says it’s not that her organization wants to eliminate anyone’s right to carry a firearm. Instead, they want to limit access to people who may not be mentally stable enough to possess a weapon.
“Lawmakers here in Tennessee have been making it easier and easier for people to access guns, for people to carry guns everywhere,” she said. “There seems to be so many common sense, moderate solutions available, like closing the loopholes in the background check system.”
More than 9,000 people in Tennessee have been killed by gunfire in the past 10 years—almost double the amount of combat deaths in the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars.